In an interview with Chezzi Denyer on the Mum Stories podcast, Keller discussed her issues falling pregnant in the context of how it influenced her parenting. Keller fell pregnant with her first child, now 17-year-old Liam, when she was 39.
“The mother I pictured myself to be isn’t necessarily the mother I am,” Keller, who also has a son, Jack, said.
“I thought I would love reading stories at night time and pushing children on swings; I am not good at that stuff. I think I’m a good mother but I’m not mumsy in that way. I didn’t feel maternal.
“When you’re told you can’t [fall pregnant] it becomes something quite different. I’d been set a task – three years of IVF and I kept failing. I became more desperate the longer it went on.”
After three years of trying, Keller fell pregnant in 2000 during the Sydney Olympics, telling Denyer she vividly remembers starting to bleed and thinking she must be miscarrying.
“I started to bleed and just thought I’d been so close. ‘Please, please, please’, I kept praying. That [bleeding] was the other embryos coming away and [eldest son] Liam stuck. I could feel the whiff of change and after I saw the heartbeat following a trip to the doctor, I stopped the car and just cried. Harley [her husband] had been guarded, protecting his emotions. Once I was six weeks pregnant I was terrified and I could barely admit it to anyone, but Harley was the opposite, wearing his heart on his sleeve.”
She went on to say that struggle is still deeply embedded in her.
“I am not far from those days where I thought it would never happen. That is still a big part of me, it’s still raw in there somewhere.”
It’s not the first time Keller has been both public and candid about her initial struggles to conceive, last year sharing on WSFM’s Jonesy & Amanda, on her eldest son’s 16th birthday, how she remembers announcing the news of her pregnancy on radio.
“There had been years and years where I had been trying to have a baby. And when I announced that I was pregnant, everyone was on the ride with us – it was just wonderful,” she explained to her co-host Brendan Jones.
“I’m going to get all teary, but on the morning we announced his birth… just this giant, wonderful, loving hug from Sydney – that’s how it felt for me.”
In her memoir, Natural Born Keller, released in 2015, she wrote about how she had always assumed motherhood would be a part of her life but it took years – and many heartbreaks – to finally fall pregnant with Liam.
“But one hung in there and finally, after so many sad visits to the ultrasound unit, our lives changed tack in the best possible way,” she wrote. “We detected a heartbeat. A tiny flashing speck amidst a sea of what looked like submarine signals. Evidence, finally, that there was something there.”